Beyond the Tech Surge: An Evaluation of the Consumer Experience Provided by the Health Insurance Exchange Web sites of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
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Purpose: The purpose of this applied research project is to gauge the quality of consumer experience provided by the individual marketplaces of the health insurance exchange web sites of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Methods: A review of the literature and applicable Federal regulations informs the development of a conceptual framework comprised of three experiential categories: a sense of being well-informed, a sense of personal control, and a sense of influence. The conceptual framework acts as the foundation for the coding sheet used in a content analysis of the sixteen individual marketplaces of the health insurance exchanges. Results: The exchanges are somewhat consistent in the goals of the ACA and HHS in the quality of consumer experience they wish to provide; earning a 67% or a D in the model. Additionally, there is great variation in quality between the health insurance exchange web sites, either Maryland scoring the highest and Kentucky / Oregon scoring the lowest. The primary problem areas for the exchange web sites are accessibility, navigability and feedback. Conclusion: The health insurance exchange websites should concentrate on fixing their accessibility errors, improving access to search functions and site maps and offer more robust and frequent opportunities for users to give feedback.